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Mark it Eight: Penguins Destroy Lightning 8-1

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Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

When the Penguins score seven seconds into the game, you know it's going to be a good one.  After they close out the first period with a 5-0 lead, it's bound to be a great one.  But when they send the opposing team's goalie scampering to the bench (twice), only to light up the backup for another three goals, it's sure to set the stage for the biggest win of the year.

The Penguins would not allow the bad vibes from the Winter Classic to carry over into the team's first game of 2011 at Consol Energy Center, as they routed the Lightning by the final of 8-1.  Chris Kunitz picked up his first hat trick of the year to claim the first star of the game, but Alex Goligoski (1g, 3a), Kris Letang (3a) and Ben Lovejoy (2a) each had solid games as well.  

Does it really get any better than Malkin's opening goal?  That was just a pure thing of beauty as he fired off the line, bolted through the defense and stuck with the puck to pop it in from a very Mario-esque angle.  Only thing that tops the goal is his head nod afterward.  It screamed, "Yes, it's going to be like this tonight."

Earlier in the day Hooks mentioned Tyler Kennedy would get the start on the second line, and by the looks of things he worked out just fine.  His first  period goal and second period assist gave him his first multi-point game since December 8th against the Maple Leafs when he tallied two assists.  It's actually the first time this season he has spread out his two points over both categories, as he registered two assists in a game against the Senators earlier this season as well.

In Jordan Staal's first indoor game of the season, No. 11 looked to still be getting his skates back but still showed that same "buzz" we saw in the Classic.  His ice time hovered around the 14-minute mark, a clear indication that he's still slowly but surely working his way back into the Staal we know he can be.

On paper, Steven Stamkos's penalty shot simply registers as "unsuccessful penalty shot."  In reality, that was just about as unsuccessful a penalty shot as you can get.  In a way, it more or less symbolized the Lightning's night.

Marc-Andre Fleury looked just about as good as you'd like him to be, stopping 31 of Tampa Bay's 32 shots.  The lone goal went to none other than former Penguin Adam Hall, his fifth of the season.

There are so many things that can be said about this game, but I'm beat after that 24/7 episode, so I'll leave the rest to you guys.

Pens are back at it tomorrow night up in Montreal to take on the Canadiens.